Action A2. A study on the presence of the otter (Lutra lutra) in Lesser Prespa Lake

Yiannis Theodoropoulos

A study about the spatial distribution of the otter (Lutra lutra) was undertaken in Lesser Prespa Lake; its findings will inform decisions regarding the management of reedbeds in the area, which will be implemented within the framework of LIFE+ Prespa Waterbirds project. The study followed the standard method for the otter, which is based on a systematic sampling survey for field signs of otters. This survey shed light on the distribution and suggested possible breeding sites of the otter in the study area. The species was found to occupy all available habitats in Lesser Prespa Lake. It was acknowledged that an unwise over-mowing of reedbeds could lead to a decrease of available breeding sites. Therefore, it was recognized that ensuring that a sufficient number of reed-bed patches - of the appropriate extent and siting - remain undisturbed, is of major conservation significance in order to maintain a healthy otter population. A maximum of 14 plausible female otter territories was estimated for the central and northern sections of the Lesser Prespa Lake, where reed management is to take place. Efforts were then concentrated in identifying the apparently most suitable spots to host breeding sites along those 14 “plausible territories” that are potentially at risk from the scheduled reed cuts. Taking all relevant parameters under consideration, a map was produced delineating the suggested “otter friendly management areas”, that were based to the best of our knowledge and understanding of the species requirements.

Theodoropoulos, Y., 2017. A study on the presence of the otter (Lutra lutra) in Lesser Prespa. Report within the framework of the project “LIFE Prespa Waterbirds” (LIFE15 NAT/GR/000936). Society for the Protection of Prespa. 

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